Our Board

WestVic Dairy is run by a Board of Directors. The Board is made up of six farmers and two industry service providers who meet eight times per year The role of the Board is to ensure that the levies collected from the region's dairy farmers are directed to relevant research and development and that the findings are communicated to all dairy farmers to increase the profitability and sustainability of the regions dairy industry.

Simone Renyard-  Chairperson

Farmer Representative

Harper Kilpatrick

Simone entered the industry after meeting her dairy farming husband Nick at university 18 years ago.

“I had never been on a farm or touched a cow before meeting Nick,” she said.

Mrs Renyard has a Batchelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology and has always worked off farm, however, her involvement on the farm has increased over the last few years and she is responsible for the HR side of the business, as well as the young stock and the bookwork.

“Nick and I really enjoy running our business together,” she said.  “My real love is the people side.”

Mrs Renyard is involved in many different industry bodies, such as Dairy Australia and ADF and has focused on issues surrounding people on dairy farms.

Email Simone: srenyard@bigpond.com

Kirsti Keightley

Westvic Dairy BoardVice Chairperson- Farmer Representative

Kirsti married into the industry back in New Zealand and hasn’t looked back since.

The Keightley’s worked their way up through share farming to farm ownership and came to Australia with the aim to farm more land. They now own two farms near Hamilton milking 1100 cows. After building the farms from the ground up, they are now operated by managers.

But Mrs Keightley’s interest goes far beyond the borders of her own farm. Amongst other things, she founded the ANZAC discussion group. Last year, Mrs Keightley completed her Diploma in Human Resources, where her passion lies.

Email Kirsti: conwallapastoral@aussiebb.com.au

Tom Newton

Westvic Dairy BoardTreasurer- Independent

Tom is the national manager for Maxum Foods and has filled the service provider position on the WestVic Dairy Board. Tom grew up on a property in Stanthorpe in Queensland and moved to south west Victoria four and a half years ago with his wife Lu and his daughters Annabelle and Polly.

His interest in the dairy industry was first kindled when he got involved in the food manufacturing industry and he has since moved onto animal nutrition. Working for Maxum Foods, Tom liaises closely with farmers to supply supplements and stockfeed.

“I really fell in love with the industry when I moved down to Western Victoria,” he said.

Mr Newton said he was especially interested in transitions in and out of the dairy industry, as well as helping farmers understand their business.

“I got involved with YDDP because I really wanted to engage with young farmers and get young people into the industry,” he said.

“I have the greatest respect for dairy farmers and the work they achieve for their farm and I’m humbled by the opportunity to go on the WestVic Dairy board.”

Email Tom: tom@maxumanimal.com.au

Dr Gemma Chuck

IndependentWestvic Dairy Board

Dr Gemma Chuck graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The Royal Veterinary College in London, UK, in June 2006. She worked briefly in the South West of England in a mixed practice clinic before moving to Australia in January 2007. She settled in Far North Queensland on the Atherton Tablelands with her husband Jason. Here she worked for Tableland Veterinary Service where she initially developed her skills in mixed practice and more latterly with an emphasis in dairy. The clinic had an affiliation with James Cook University in Townsville and Gemma was appointed Adjunct Lecturer in 2009. She was responsible for the practical teaching of dairy cattle medicine and surgery for veterinary undergraduates.  

In November 2010, Gemma was appointed as one of three Dairy Residents at the University of Melbourne.  Gemma fulfilled this role at The Vet Group in Timboon, Victoria. Her job comprised teaching of undergraduate students on farm and in the classroom, along with clinical dairy work and the undertaking of a Masters of Veterinary Science research project. The original project investigated how practical changes to colostrum management can affect morbidity, mortality and live weight gain on dairy farms in South West Victoria.  She completed her Residency in February 2013 at which time she converted her Masters into a PhD project. The project has now been expanded to determine the long term benefits of optimal calf management in South West Victorian dairy herds. Gemma enjoys working with dairy farmers to improve calf health and hopes that the work achieved by her research will help the industry as a whole.

Aside from work, Gemma enjoys walking her dogs with her husband, horse riding, photography, cooking, gardening and rearing her own calves and heifers.

Email Gemma: gchuck@thevetgroup.com.au

Tania Luckin

Farmer Representative

Michael Hawker

Farmer Representative

Mark Billing

Farmer Representative